2021 NHL Draft Lottery and NHL Entry Draft Primer

  • The NHL Draft Lottery will be held on June 2 to determine the order of selection for the first 16 picks in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft.
  • The Buffalo Sabres own the best odds of landing the top pick at 16.6 per cent
  • The 2021 draft will be held virtually, with the first round July 23 and Rounds 2-7 on July 24

While only eight teams still have a chance to win this year’s Stanley Cup, fan bases of the other 24 NHL clubs can start dreaming of future championships. Those dreams start with this week’s NHL Draft Lottery – which will determine who get the No. 1 overall pick at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

Read below for everything you need to know about the lottery and coming draft, which will be held on July 23–24 in a virtual format for the second consecutive year. Before diving in, be sure to check out our NHL betting tips page for advice on how to wager on hockey.

NHL Draft Lottery Explainer

Back in March, the NHL instituted changes to the 2021 draft lottery that make it more difficult for the last-place team to drop out of the top three in the selection order. Wednesday’s lottery has been reduced from three drawings to two, which ensures that the team that finished last in the NHL standings, the Sabres, will pick no lower than No. 3.

Under the old system, the team that finished last in the NHL standings could drop to No. 4, which happened in 2017 (Colorado Avalanche), 2019 (Ottawa Senators) and 2020 (Detroit Red Wings).

— Seltytending (@seltytending) May 25, 2021

The first lottery draw will determine the club selecting first overall, and the second lottery draw will determine the club selecting second overall. The 14 teams not selected will be assigned NHL Draft selections three through 16 in inverse order of regular-season points.

Sabres Favored To Win Lottery

The Buffalo Sabres own the best odds of landing the top pick at 16.6 per cent, which would be a ‘Godsend’ for the franchise with the news that star center Jack Eichel wants out of town. The Anaheim Ducks have the second best odds at 12.1 per cent and the expansion Seattle Kraken sit in a tie for third with the New Jersey Devils at 10.3 per cent.

Getting the same treatment the Golden Knights did in their first Draft Lottery back in 2017, the Kraken are guaranteed to have no worse than the No. 5 pick.

The Top Prospects Available

The 2021 draft will be held virtually, with the first round July 23 and Rounds 2-7 on July 24 . Owen Power, a defenseman for the University of Michigan, is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters for the 2021 NHL Draft.

Rounding out the top five North American skaters are center Mason McTavish of Peterborough in the Ontario Hockey League, Michigan center Kent Johnson, defenseman Luke Hughes of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, and right wing Dylan Guenther of Edmonton of the Western Hockey League.

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Steve Dominey

Steve has almost 15 years of experience in marketing, PR and sports television. After acquiring a Journalism degree from Carleton University, he assembled highlight packs for Canada's most-watched sports network (TSN) before transitioning to a career in communications. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.